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TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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What should I do

Resolved Question:

After having problems with my partner of 8 years which consisted of his awful temper when drunk, physically hurting me on two occasions,him visiting prostitue bars I lashed out by seeing someone else for a few months. I understand and fully accept his actions do not justify mine.I have since ended this and my partner does not know about it. Instead I have tried to focus on my relationship and make it better and it's working. But I can't shrug off what I have done and how awful and selfish I have been. He is a good man and I feel he deserves better but I love him and don't feel I could live without him. What do I do? Anna
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
From what you have described, it sounds like you were very hurt by your husband's behavior. He cheated on you with prostitutes (not only cheating, but dangerous behavior), drank a lot and physically hurt you. What you have described is an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. No one should have to be in such a relationship. It is hurtful and damaging to you.
It sounds like you feel guilty about cheating on your husband. While cheating doesn't solve relationship issues, given what you were going through in your marriage, your response to the abuse you were suffering is understandable. It is important that the first step you take is to forgive yourself. You may have made a mistake, but you are willing to acknowledge it and take responsibility. You also stopped the behavior, which indicates you knew it was not helping.
The next step is to go to therapy. Both of you need a chance to talk about what you have just gone through and your husband also needs to understand why he abused you and how to never do it again. A therapist can help you both grow closer and help your husband treat you with respect. While in therapy, talk to your therapist about your infidelity and how it makes you feel. Most likely, revealing what you did to your husband will be something the therapist recommends. Relationships must be built on trust. That is the foundation. And you and your husband need to start being open with each other to establish that trust (the same goes for him as well, telling you what he has done). However, given that your husband has done much more than cheat on you, your infidelity should only be talked about in therapy but never be the focus of healing the relationship.
Also, work on your own forgiveness through therapy and self help. Forgiving yourself does not mean you are saying you didn't do anything wrong. It is letting go of the guilt and the self punishment so you can move forward. It takes some time, but with help, you can put this behind you. Here are some resources to help:
Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-By-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope by Robert D. Enright
Total Forgiveness by R. T. Kendall
Forgiving Yourself: A Step-By-Step Guide to Making Peace With Your Mistakes and Getting on With Your Life by Beverly Flanigan
Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get on With Your Life by Sidney B. Simon and Suzanne Simon
Radical Forgiveness: A Revolutionary Five-Stage Process to Heal Relationships, Let Go of Anger and Blame, Find Peace in Any Situation by Colin C. Tipping
I hope this has helped you,
Kate
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